I Asked Someone Who Luther Burbank Was

At work today,a coworker was going to McDonalds to pick up some food for lunch and he asked if I wanted anything.“Sure,large french fries”,I said.
When he came back and we were eating a little between working,I asked him if he knew who developed the potato that they use a lot of,to make the french fries.
He couldn’t tell me and another worker nearby didn’t know.These guys are young,about twenty and not too far out of high school.
There was a lady there,age around 30-40,that did say russet,but that’s all.After I told them his name,they all said they had never heard of him.
What I’d like to see,if people get similar reactions about this plant breeder,when asking about him.It might be interesting to read about it here.bb


I noticed a fellow walking down the road who paused beside my property yesterday to admire some beautiful almond blooms. We started chatting and I mentioned that some of my fruit trees were propagated from Luther Burbank’s collection. He was familiar with Mr. Burbank and mentioned that in the past he had toured the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens.


Luther Burbank has been an inspiration to countless hybridizers and was a blessing for fruit growers across many zones but I agree the youth don’t know anything about him. You basically have to have an interest in breeding plants to know hybridizers by name so even some folks with acres of fruit trees don’t know anything about him. I’ve tried many of his plants here and have been looking for the elusive seedless plum for years. I would love to visit his garden someday, it along with visiting the UC Davis persimmon collection is on my bucket list.


Given that I’m often asked if I have any ripe peaches in mid-winter by city dwelling acquaintances a lack of familiarity with LB doesn’t seem surprising.

Gardeners often have a curiosity about their hobby that goes beyond the knowledge required to harvest their own food, but we are an increasingly specialized society where education focuses on what we need to make a living.

Most of us leave school without even a detailed understanding of our own country’s history, let alone the history that led to it.

But these kids can sure do things with a smart phone that leave me in the dust.


When I brought orange-flesh watermelon to my office for my co-workers to try last summer. Some of them thought it was cantaloupe. They never knew such a watermelon existed. I should ask them about Burbank.

When I was in high school in Thailand, many moons ago, all students learned about Friar Gregor Mendel, Luther Burbank, etc. and their work in our basic biology class. Even back then, we were amazed by Burbank’s many-in-one fruit trees he created.